Updated 09/06/13 – 2:05 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Aldermen voted Friday to circumvent a major provision of the state’s concealed carry law, by voting to require all city businesses that serve liquor to ban guns on their premises.
The state law allowing Illinois residents to carry concealed firearms prohibits guns in bars and other businesses that get more than 50 percent of their sales from liquor, but restaurants and other businesses that get less than half their revenue from alcohol would be able to choose whether to allow guns on their property.
An ordinance sponsored by Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke (14th) and downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) would effectively take that option away from any business that serves alcohol, and make them “gun-fee zones,” by requiring them to post signs banning guns. Those that don’t comply would lose their liquor license.
“In essence, what this ordinance amendment would say is that the City Council believes that booze and bullets don’t mix,” Burke said.
Current and retired police officers, and owners of businesses that serve booze would be exempted from the ban. Liquor stores and other businesses that sell packaged liquor, but do not serve it, also would be exempt.
The Finance Committee backed the proposed ordinance on Friday, sending the matter to the full City Council next week.
The National Rifle Association argued the proposal is illegal.
“The legislature was very clear when they passed a right-to-carry law that the jurisdiction and the regulation of carrying a firearm, or carrying a handgun, when in public, is the exclusive jurisdiction of the state,” NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde said. “As much as Alderman Burke wants to stamp his feet, and have his little tantrum, it’s beyond the power of the City Council to regulate this.”
However, Burke said the city has every right to determine what businesses may or may not obtain and keep liquor licenses.
“The city of Chicago has the right to choose whom we believe should be licensed to serve alcoholic beverages,” Burke said.
Some patrons at the Billy Goat Tavern on Friday said they think it’s a good idea, but not necessarily the best way to fight gun crime in Chicago.
“I think the city’s just trying to show that they’re making steps to try to combat that, but I don’t know if this is combating the right type of gun violence, because I feel like the people who have their conceal and carry license, or permit, aren’t particularly the guns that we’re worried about,” Ali Boggio-Hair said.
“I wonder what the point is,” Joy Boggio said. “Is the thought process that someone will read that, and then go somewhere else with their gun? Or is it … I mean, is there going to be a gun depository?
If passed by the City Council, the ordinance would take effect within 30 days of approval. Either way, no one in Illinois will be able to carry a concealed firearm for several months. The legislation gives Illinois State Police until Jan. 5, 2014, to make concealed carry permit applications available to the public. Once applications are submitted, they have 90 days to review them, and approve or reject them.